Canadian visual art has been dominated by Tom Thomson -- Canada's most famous painter -- and by the Group of Seven. Thomson's brief career painting Canadian landscapes spanned just a decade up to his death in 1917 at age 39. The Group were painters with a nationalistic and idealistic focus, who first exhibited their distinctive works in May 1920. Though referred to as having seven members, five artists -- Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley -- were responsible for articulating the Group's ideas. They were joined briefly by Frank Johnston, and by commercial artist Franklin Carmichael. A. J. Casson became part of the Group in 1926. Associated with the Group was another prominent Canadian artist Emily Carr, known for her landscapes and portrayals of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.
Canada has developed a music infrastructure, that includes church halls, chamber halls, conservatories, academies, performing arts centers, record companies, radio stations, television music video channels and governing bodies. The Canadian music industry has produced internationally renowned composers, musicians and ensembles such as; Portia White, Guy Lombardo, Murray Adaskin, Rush and Celine Dion. The national anthem of Canada O Canada adopted in 1980, was originally commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, the Honourable Thйodore Robitaille, for the 1880 St. Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony. Calixa Lavallйe wrote the music, which was a setting of a patriotic poem composed by the poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The text was originally only in French, before it was translated to English in 1906.
A scene at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver seconds after Team Canada won gold in men's ice hockey. Canada's National symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and Aboriginal sources. The use of the maple leaf as a Canadian symbol dates to the early 18th century. The maple leaf is depicted on Canada's current and previous flags, on the penny, and on the Coat of Arms. Other prominent symbols include the beaver, Canada Goose, Common Loon, the Crown, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and more recently, the totem pole and Inukshuk. Canada's official national sports are hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the summer. Hockey is a national pastime and the most popular spectator sport in the country. It is also the sport most played by Canadians, with 1.65 million participants in 2004. Canada's six largest metropolitan areas--Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton--have franchises in the National Hockey League (NHL), and there are more Canadian players in the NHL than from all other countries combined. Other popular spectator sports include curling and football; the latter is played professionally in the Canadian Football League (CFL). Golf, baseball, skiing, soccer, volleyball, and basketball are widely played at youth and amateur levels, but professional leagues and franchises are not widespread. Canada has hosted several high-profile international sporting events, including the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Canada was the host nation for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia.
Notre-Dame-des-Victories in the historic Basse-Ville (Lower Town) of Quebec City, Quebec. The population is mainly French-speaking, with a small English-speaking minority. Canada's two official languages are English and French. Official bilingualism is defined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Official Languages Act, and Official Language Regulations; it is applied by the Commissioner of Official Languages. English and French have equal status in federal courts, Parliament, and in all federal institutions. Citizens have the right, where there is sufficient demand, to receive federal government services in either English or French, and official-language minorities are guaranteed their own schools in all provinces and territories. English and French are the mother tongues of 59.7% and 23.2% of the population respectively, and the languages most spoken at home by 68.3% and 22.3% of the population respectively. 98.5% of Canadians speak English or French (67.5% speak English only, 13.3% speak French only, and 17.7% speak both). English and French Official Language Communities, defined by First Official Language Spoken, constitute 73.0% and 23.6% of the population respectively. The Charter of the French Language makes French the official language in Quebec. Although more than 85% of French-speaking Canadians live in Quebec, there are substantial Francophone populations in Ontario, Alberta, and southern Manitoba; Ontario has the largest French-speaking population outside Quebec. New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province, has a French-speaking Acadian minority constituting 33% of the population. There are also clusters of Acadians in southwestern Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island, and through central and western Prince Edward Island. Other provinces have no official languages as such, but French is used as a language of instruction, in courts, and for other government services in addition to English. Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec allow for both English and French to be spoken in the provincial legislatures, and laws are enacted in both languages. In Ontario, French has some legal status but is not fully co-official. There are 11 Aboriginal language groups, made up of more than 65 distinct dialects. Of these, only Cree, Inuktitut and Ojibway have a large enough population of fluent speakers to be considered viable to survive in the long term. Several aboriginal languages have official status in the Northwest Territories. Inuktitut is the majority language in Nunavut, and one of three official languages in the territory. Over six million people in Canada list a non-official language as their mother tongue. Some of the most common non-official first languages include Chinese (mainly Cantonese; 1,012,065 first-language speakers), Italian (455,040), German (450,570), Punjabi (367,505) and Spanish (345,345).
Established1826 as "Town of Bytown"
Incorporated1855 as "City of Ottawa"
AmalgamatedJanuary 1, 2001
City CouncilOttawa City Council
MPsList of MPs[show]
MPPsList of MPPs[show]
City2,778.64 km2 (1,072.9 sq mi)
Urban512.29 km2 (197.8 sq mi)
Metro5,318.36 km2 (2,053.4 sq mi)
Density292.3/km2 (757.1/sq mi)
Ottawa ( /??t?w?/ or sometimes /??t?w??/) is the capital of Canada and a municipality within the Province of Ontario. Located in the Ottawa Valley in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario, the city lies on the southern banks of the Ottawa River, a major waterway forming the local boundary between the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Connected by several bridges to its Quebec neighbour, the city of Gatineau on the northern shores of the Ottawa River, the two cities and surrounding areas are designated the National Capital Region (NCR). Though governed by separate municipal governments, the federal lands within the region are administered by the National Capital Commission (NCC), a federal crown corporation charged with the responsibility of planning and managing the federal government's interests in the NCR. In 2006, the city of Ottawa had a population of 812,129, making it the fourth-largest municipality in the country and second-largest in Ontario. The Ottawa-Gatineau metropolitan area had a 2006 population of 1,130,761, making it the fourth-largest census metropolitan area (CMA) in Canada. The National Capital Region which encompasses Ottawa, Gatineau and surrounding suburbs and towns has an estimated population of 1,451,415. In 2009 Ottawa-Gatineau's population was estimated at 1,220,674, making it the fifth-largest CMA in Canada. Ottawa is also considered the 4th cleanest city in the world by Forbes magazine and the 18th most liveable city in the world according to the "Mercer Human Resource Consulting Quality of Living Survey". As with other national capitals, the word "Ottawa" is also used to refer by metonymy to the country's federal government, especially as opposed to provincial or municipal authorities.
Ottawa as the capital
The Centre Block, on Parliament Hill. n December 31, 1857, Queen Victoria was asked to choose a common capital for the Province of Canada (modern day Ontario and Quebec) and chose Ottawa. While Ottawa is now a major metropolis and Canada's fourth largest city, at the time it was a sometimes unruly logging town in the hinterland, far away from the colony's main cities, Quebec City and Montreal in Canada East, and Kingston and Toronto in Canada West. The Queen's advisers suggested she pick Ottawa for many important reasons: first, it was the only settlement of any significant size located right on the border of Canada East and Canada West (today Quebec and Ontario), making it a compromise between the two colonies and their French and English populations; second, the War of 1812 had shown how vulnerable major Canadian cities were to American attack, since they were all located very close to the border, while Ottawa was then surrounded by dense forest far from the border; third, the government owned a large parcel of land on a spectacular spot overlooking the Ottawa River. Ottawa's position in the back country made it more defensible, while still allowing easy transportation over the Ottawa River to Canada East, and the Rideau Canal to Canada West. Two other considerations were that Ottawa was at a point nearly exactly midway between Toronto and Quebec City (~500 km/310 mi) and that the small size of the town made it less likely that politically motivated mobs could go on a rampage and destroy government buildings, as happened in the previous Canadian capitals. The Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal network meant that Ottawa could be supplied by water from Kingston and Montreal without going along the potentially treacherous US-Canada border. In 1866, the legislature was finally moved to Ottawa, after a few years of alternating between Toronto and Quebec City. See also: Capitals of the Province of Canada.
National War memorial
After World War I much of the National Capital was in disrepair. Many of the wooden frame structured buildings had been neglected during the war and the area was in need of many upgrades.
The original Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa was destroyed by fire on February 3, 1916. French urban planner Jacques Greber was hired to work on a master plan for the National Capital Region (the Greber Plan). Jacques Greber was the creator of the National Capital Greenbelt, as well as many other projects throughout the NCR. The House of Commons and Senate were temporarily relocated to the recently constructed Victoria Memorial Museum, currently the Canadian Museum of Nature, located about 1 km (1 mi) south of Parliament Hill on McLeod Street at Metcalfe Street. A new Centre Block was completed in 1922, the centrepiece of which is a dominant Gothic revival styled structure known as the Peace Tower which has become a common emblem of the city. On September 5, 1945, only weeks after the end of World War II, Ottawa was the site of the event that many people consider to be the official start of the Cold War. A Soviet cipher clerk, Igor Gouzenko, defected from the Soviet embassy with over 100 secret documents.
At first, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) refused to take the documents, as the Soviets were still allies of Canada and Britain, and the newspapers were not interested in the story. After hiding out for a night in a neighbour's apartment, listening to his own home being searched, Gouzenko finally persuaded the RCMP to look at his evidence, which provided proof of a massive Soviet spy network operating in western countries, and, indirectly, led to the discovery that the Soviets were working on an atomic bomb to match that of the Americans. In 2001, the old city of Ottawa (estimated 2005 population 350,000) was amalgamated with the suburbs of Nepean (135,000), Kanata (85,000), Gloucester (120,000), Rockcliffe Park (2,100), Vanier (17,000) and Cumberland (55,000), Orleans (84,695), and the rural townships of West Carleton (18,000), Osgoode (13,000), Rideau (18,000), and Goulbourn (24,000), along with the systems and infrastructure of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, to become one municipality. Before 1969 and the creation of Ottawa-Carleton, the city of Ottawa was part of Carleton County.
Sparks Street in downtown Ottawa, 1954
The Ottawa region was long the home of the Odawa or Odaawaa First Nations people. The Odawa are an Algonquin people who called the river the Kichi Sibi or Kichissippi meaning "Great River" or "Grand River". Historical evidence indicates that the Algonquins over time have occupied portions of the lands of the Ottawa River watershed and travelled through surrounding territory as a hunting and gathering society. The Algonquins of Ontario assert that they never surrendered its territory by treaty, sale, or conquest and have made such claims since 1772. In 1983, the Algonquins of Golden Lake (Pikwаkanagаn) presented to the Government of Canada a claim to Aboriginal rights and title within the Ontario portion of the Ottawa and Mattawa River watersheds. Negotiations are ongoing.
1920 aerial view of the Parliament buildings (without the Peace Tower), and old Union station in the background
Early European explorers of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers sought new territories, claimed lands in the names of their kings and queens, and sought western passages to India and Asia as well as gold and other precious commodities. Among the first of commercial enterprises to evolve in the New World after fishing, the fur trade industry, largely influenced by the Hudson Bay Company, used the Ottawa River and its tributaries as the local conveyance for the delivery of fur products to Europe through Montreal and Quebec City.
The first settlement in the region was led by Philemon Wright, a New Englander from Woburn Massachusetts who, on March 7, 1800 arrived with his own and five other families along with twenty-five labourers to start an agricultural community on the north bank of the Ottawa River at the portage to the Chaudiиre Falls. Food crops were not sufficient to sustain the community and Wright began harvesting trees as a cash crop when he determined that he could transport timber by river from the Ottawa Valley to the Montreal and Quebec City markets, which also exported to Europe. His first raft of squared timber and sawn lumber arrived in Quebec City in 1806. Liked by many European nations for its extremely straight and strong trunk in heavy construction for shipbuilding and housing as well as for furniture, the white pine (Pinus strobus) was found throughout the Ottawa Valley, soon booming based almost exclusively upon the timber trade. By 1812, the timber trade had overtaken the fur trade as the leading economic activity in the area as Ottawa became a centre for lumber milling and square-cut lumber in Canada and North America. In the years following the War of 1812, along with settling some military regiment families (such as the 100th Regiment of Foot (Prince Regent's County of Dublin Regiment) at Richmond, Ontario), the government began sponsored immigration schemes which brought over Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants to settle the Ottawa area, which began a steady stream of Irish immigration there in the next few decades. Along with French Canadians who crossed over from Quebec, these two groups provided the bulk of workers involved in the Rideau Canal project and the booming timber trade, both instrumental in putting Ottawa on the map. The region's population grew significantly when the canal was completed by Colonel John By in 1832. It was intended to provide a secure route between Montreal and Kingston on Lake Ontario, by-passing the stretch of the St. Lawrence River bordering New York State (the U.S invasions of Canada in the War of 1812 being a recent memory). Construction of the canal began at the northern end, where Colonel By set up a military barracks on what later became Parliament Hill, and laid out a townsite that soon became known as Bytown. Original city leaders of Bytown include a number of Wright's sons, most notably Ruggles Wright. Nicholas Sparks, Braddish Billings and Abraham Dow were the first to settle on the Ontario side of the Ottawa river. The west side of the canal became known as "Uppertown" where the Parliament buildings are located, while the east side of the canal (wedged between the canal and Rideau River) was known as the "Lowertown". Lowertown was then a crowded, boisterous shanty town, frequently receiving the worst of disease epidemics, such as the Cholera outbreak in 1832, and typhus in 1847.Bytown was renamed Ottawa in 1855, when it was incorporated as a city.